United States Senate Inquiry

Day 4

Testimony of Arthur G. Peuchen

(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)

5458. (Senator Smith.) Will you kindly give the reporter your full name?
- Arthur Godfrey Peuchen.

5459. Where do you reside?
- Toronto, Canada.

5460. How old are you?
- Fifty-three.

5461. What is your business?
- Manufacturer of chemicals.

5462. Do you hold any official rank in the military or civic affairs of Great Britain?
- I am a major in the Canadian militia.

5463. Were you aboard the vessel Titanic when it sailed from Southampton?
- I was.

5464. When did you board the vessel?
- Twenty minutes before sailing, I should say; half an hour.

5465. What time did she sail?
- I think a little after 12; a little after noon.

5466. What day of the week?
- On Wednesday, the 10th.

5467. Of April?
- Yes, sir.

5468. Did you make the trip from Belfast Lough to Southampton?
- No; oh, no.

5469. Had you ever seen this ship before?
- Never.

5470. Were you accompanied by anyone?
- Yes; several gentlemen friends.

5471. Who?
- Mr. Markleham Molson [Harry Markland Molson], a co-director of mine, was my personal friend on the trip; Mr. Allison and Mrs. Allison.

5472. Where were they from?
- Montreal.

5473. All were Canadians?
- Canadians; yes, sir.

5474. Did your friends survive?
- No; they were all lost.

5475. Where were you located on the vessel? Where were your quarters and where were your friends located?
- I was located on C deck, stateroom 104, and they were located on A deck, I think A-2. I forget Mr. Allison's number, but most of my friends were on A deck.

5476. That was the deck just above yours?
- No, sir; two above.

5477. Two above; yes. And A deck was just below the boat deck?
- Just below.

5478. The upper deck?
- Just below the bridge, I should think; just below the upper deck. I guess you are right, sir.

5479. Do you know any of the passengers that were on C deck?
- No, I can not say that I do.

5480. Do you know any other passengers on A deck than those you have named?
- Yes, several.

5481. Who?
- Mr. Hugo Ross.

5482. Give his address, if you can.
- Mr. Hugo Ross, of Winnipeg; Mr. Beatty [Beattie], of Winnipeg; Mr. McCaffrey, of Vancouver.

5483. Where were they located?
- On A deck.

5484. Do you know the rooms?
- Mr. Hugo Ross, who was my friend, I think was in A-12, and the others were in A-8, and numbers similar to that close by. [According to the Cave list Ross was in A-10.]

5485. Did they survive?
- No.

5486. Did you know any other passengers on the Titanic on this voyage from Southampton or from Queenstown?
- Mr. Charles M. Hays, of Montreal.

5487. Who was he?
- He is the president and general manager of the Grand Trunk Railroad. Mr. Davidson, his son-in-law, of Montreal; Mr. Fortune and his son, of Winnipeg.

5488. Do you know where they were located on the ship?
- No; I do not, sir.

5489. Did you see them aboard ship?
- Yes; talked to them all.

5490. Do you know whether they survived?
- No, sir; they were all lost, sir.

5491. If I understood you correctly, you do not know on which deck Mr. Hays or the other persons referred to were?
- No; outside of I know where Mr. Beatty and Mr. McCaffry were.

5492. Where were they?
- They were in A, as I have already described. The others, I did not know where they were.

5493. Did you know any other passengers?
- Oh, I met a number of other passengers.

5494. Who?
- I met Mrs. Gibson and Miss Gibson, of New York, and Mr. Foreman, of New York. These people I did not know as well. The others I knew before coming on the boat.

5495. If you can recall the names of any others you met, I wish you would do so.
- I met a number that were saved, afterwards on the Carpathia - on the other boat.

5496. Did you meet aboard ship any of the others who were lost?
- I do not think I met many more. Outside of my own circle of friends, which were about 10 - we were only three days out - I do not remember meeting very many more. I talked to a number, but not to meet them.

5497. Do you recall having seen a list of the passengers?
- Yes, sir.

5498. After you sailed from Southampton?
- Yes; I looked over the list.

5499. Did you retain the list?
- No, sir; I did not. There were only about one or two retained by the survivors.

5500. Do you know who has one?
- I saw them copying one in the smoking room of the Carpathia; only one, I think.

5501. Who had it?
- I do not remember. It was a young man, a fair young man, who was in the smoking room.

5502. You do not remember his name?
- I do not remember; no, sir.

5503. Have you seen him since?
- No, sir; not since leaving the boat.

5504. Did this list of passengers show the location of the passengers on the boat?
- No; only the names.

5505. Just the names?
- Yes.

5506. Were they taken in alphabetical order?
- Yes; in alphabetical order.

5507. Did you ask this person on the Carpathia to let you have a list of them?
- No; I did not sir. Several were making copies of them.

5508. Major, I wish you would tell the committee in your own way, beginning from the time you boarded the ship, the Titanic, at Southampton, the condition of the weather on the voyage; whether or not any accident occurred before the collision where the boat was lost; whether there was any fire aboard the ship between Southampton and the place of the catastrophe; whether you saw any drill of officers or men; and as nearly as you can, in your own way, what took place from the time the Titanic sailed. You may proceed in your own way and take your own time, and you will not be interrupted until you finish.
- The day was a fine day. Shortly after leaving our pier our wash or suction caused some trouble at the head of the pier that we were going around, at which there were two or three boats of the same company as our boat. There was considerable excitement on those boats on account of the snapping of their mooring lines, but there was no excitement on ours, the Titanic. There was also excitement on the wharves when the larger ship commenced to snap one or two of her moorings. But I do not think there was any accident.

The smaller boat, I think, was the New York. She drifted away, not being under steam and having no control of herself. The result was that she was helpless. At first she drifted to our stern, and then afterwards she drifted along and got very near our bows. I think we stopped our boat and we were simply standing still. They got a tug or two to take hold of the New York and they moved her out of harm's way. I should think we were delayed probably three-quarters of an hour by this trouble. Then we moved out of the harbor.

The weather up to the time of Sunday was pleasant. There was very little wind; it was quite calm. Everything seemed to be running very smoothly on the steamer, and there was nothing that occurred. There was no mention of fire in any way. In fact, it was a very pleasant voyage up to Sunday evening. We were all pleased with the way the new steamer was progressing and we had hopes of arriving in New York quite early on Wednesday morning. Do you wish me to go on further?

5509. Go right along. I wish you to complete your statement, in your own way, up to the time you went on board the Carpathia. - It would be a rather long story.

5510. Well, I want it in the record, Major.
- Sunday evening I dined with my friends, Markleham Molson, Mr. Allison, and Mrs. Allison; and their daughter [Helen Lorraine Allison] was there for a short time. The dinner was an exceptionally good dinner. It seemed to be a better bill of fare than usual, although they are all good. After dinner my friends and I went to the sitting-out room and had some coffee. I left the friends I had dined with about 9 o'clock, I think, or a little later. I then went up to the smoking room and joined Mr. Beatty, Mr. McCaffry, and another English gentleman who was going to Canada. We sat chatting and smoking there until probably 20 minutes after 11, or it may have been a little later than that. I then bid them good night and went to my room. I probably stopped, going down, but I had only reached my room and was starting to undress when I felt as though a heavy wave had struck our ship. She quivered under it somewhat. If there had been a sea running I would simply have thought it was an unusual wave which had struck the boat; but knowing that it was a calm night and that it was an unusual thing to occur on a calm night, I immediately put my overcoat on and went up on deck. As I started to go through the grand stairway I met a friend, who said, "Why, we have struck an iceberg."

5511. Give his name, if you can.
- I can not remember his name. He was simply a casual acquaintance I had met. He said, "If you will go up on the upper deck " or "If you will go up on A deck, you will see the ice on the fore part of the ship." So I did so. I went up there. I suppose the ice had fallen inside the rail, probably 4 to 4 1/2 feet. It looked like shell ice, soft ice. But you could see it quite plainly along the bow of the boat. I stood on deck for a few minutes, talking to other friends, and then I went to see my friend, Mr. Hugo Ross, to tell him that it was not serious; that we had only struck an iceberg. I also-called on Mr. Molson at his room, but he was out. I afterwards saw Mr. Molson on deck and we chatted over the matter, and I suppose 15 minutes after that I met Mr. Hays, his son-in-law, and I said to him, "Mr. Hays, have you seen the ice?" He said, "No." I said, "If you care to see it I will take you up on the deck and show it to you." So we proceeded from probably C deck to A deck and along forward, and I showed Mr. Hays the ice forward. I happened to look and noticed the boat was listing, probably half an hour after my first visit to the upper deck. I said to Mr. Hays, "Why, she is listing; she should not do that, the water is perfectly calm, and the boat has stopped." I felt that looked rather serious. He said, "Oh, I don't know; you can not sink this boat." He had a good deal of confidence. He said, "No matter what we have struck, she is good for 8 or 10 hours."

I hardly got back in the grand staircase - I probably waited around there 10 minutes more - when I saw the ladies and gentlemen all coming in off of the deck looking very serious, and I caught up to Mr. Beatty, and I said, "What is the matter?" He said, "Why the order is for lifebelts and boats." I could not believe it at first, it seemed so sudden. I said, "Will you tell Mr. Ross?" He said, "Yes; I will go and see Mr. Ross." I then went to my cabin and changed as quickly as I could from evening dress to heavy clothes. As soon as I got my overcoat on I got my life preserver and I came out of my cabin.

In the hallway I met a great many people, ladies and gentlemen, with their lifebelts on, and the ladies were crying, principally, most of them. It was a very serious sight, and I commenced to realize how serious matters were. I then proceeded up to the boat deck, and I saw that they had cleared away.

5512. (interposing). Pardon me one moment. Were you still on C deck?
- I was on C deck when I came out and saw the people standing in the corridor near the grand stairway. I then proceeded upstairs to the boat deck, which is the deck above A.

I saw the boats were all ready for action; that is, the covers had been taken off of them, and the ropes cleared, ready to lower. This was on the port side. I was standing near by the second officer [Lightoller], and the captain [Smith] was standing there as well, at that time. The captain said - I do not know whether it was the captain or the second officer said - "We will have to get these masts out of these boats, and also the sail." He said, "You might give us a hand," and I jumped in the boat, and we got a knife and cut the lashings of the mast, which is a very heavy mast, and also the sail, and moved it out of the boat, saying it would not be required. Then there was a cry, as soon as that part was done, that they were ready to put the women in; so the women came forward one by one. A great many women came with their husbands.

5513. Just a second, before you come to that. What number boat did you get into?
- I got into - I think it was - the first large boat forward on the port side, and I imagine, from the way they number those boats, the emergency boat is 2, and the first large one is 4, and the next one is 6. I am not sure about that. [Peuchen actually left in lifeboat 6 - the second large boat on the port side].

5514. Beginning to count from the forward end?
- From the forward end; from the bow.

5515. On the port side?
- On the port side. This was the largest lifeboat - the first large lifeboat toward the bow on the port side. They would only allow women in that boat, and the men had to stand back.

5516. Was there any order to that effect given?
- That was the order. The second officer stood there and he carried out that to the limit. He allowed no men except the sailors, who were manning the boat, but there were no passengers that I saw got into that boat.

5517. How many sailors?
- I am not sure, but I imagine there were about four. As far as my memory serves me, there were about four. I was busy helping and assisting to get the ladies in. After a reasonable complement of ladies had got aboard, she was lowered, but I did not see one single passenger get in that first boat.

5518. (Senator Fletcher.) You mean male passenger.
- Yes; male passenger.

5519. (Senator Smith.) Did you see any attempt to get in?
- No; I never saw such order. It was perfect order. The discipline was splendid. The officers were carrying out their duty and I think the passengers behaved splendidly. I did not see a cowardly act by any man.

5520. Was the boat safely lowered?
- The boat was loaded, but I think they could have taken more in this boat. They took, however, all the ladies that offered to get in at that point.

5521. Was the boat safely lowered?
- Oh, very; the boat was safely lowered.

5522. Who was in it that you know of?
- I should say about - I do not know - I imagine about 26 or 27. There was room for more.

Then, as soon as that boat was lowered, we turned our attention to the next.

I might say that I was rather surprised that the sailors were not at their stations, as I have seen fire drill very often on steamers where they all stand at attention, so many men at the bow and stern of these lifeboats. They seemed to be short of sailors around the lifeboats that were being lowered at this particular point. I do not know what was taking place in other parts of the steamer.

There was one act, sir, I would like to mention a little ahead of my story. When I came on deck first, on this upper deck, there were, it seems to me, about 100 stokers came up with their dunnage bags, and they seemed to crowd this whole deck in front of the boats. One of the officers - I do not know which one, but a very powerful one - came along and drove these men right off that deck. It was a splendid act.

5523. Off the boat deck?
- Off the boat deck. He drove them, every man, like a lot of sheep, right off the deck.

5524. Where did they go?
- I do not know. He drove them right ahead of him, and they disappeared. I do not know where they went, but it was a splendid act. They did not put up any resistance. I admired him for it.

I had finished with the lowering of the first boat from the port side. We then proceeded to boat No.2 or No.4 or No.6; I do not know which it is called.

5525. You had stepped into the boat to assist in lowering it?
- Yes; and then got out of it again.

5526. And you stepped out of it?
- I only got into the boat to assist in taking out the mast and the sail.

5527. I understand. Then you got out again?
- Then I got out again, and I assisted the ladies into the boat. We then went to the next boat and we did the same thing - got the mast and the sail out of that. There was a quartermaster in the boat, and one sailor, and we commenced to put the ladies in that boat. After that boat had got a full complement of ladies, there were no more ladies to get in, or if there were any other ladies to get in they did not wish to do so, because we were calling out for them - that is, speaking of the port side - but some would not leave their husbands.

5528. Do you know who they were?
- I only saw one or two stand by who would not get in. Whether they afterwards left them I can not say, but I saw one or two women refuse to get in on that account.

5529. Did you see any woman get in and then get out because her husband was not with her?
- No, I do not think I did. I saw one lady where they had to sort of pull her away from her husband, he insisting upon her going to the boat and she did not want to go.

The boat was then lowered down, and when it got -

5530. (interposing). Pardon me a moment. How many were put into this second boat?
- I did not know at the time of the lowering, but as I happened to be a passenger later on, they were counted and there were exactly 20 women, 1 quartermaster, 1 sailor, and 1 stowaway that made his appearance after we had been out about an hour.

5531. Twenty-three all together?
- Twenty-three all together; before I was a passenger.

After that the boat was lowered down some distance, I should imagine probably parallel with C deck, when the quartermaster [Hichens] called up to the officer and said, "I can not manage this boat with only one seaman."

5532. Where was this call from?
- As the boat was going down, I should think about the third deck. So he made this call for assistance, and the second officer leaned over and saw he was quite right in his statement, that he had only one man in the boat, so they said, "We will have to have some more seamen here," and I did not think they were just at hand, or they may have been getting the next boat ready. However, I was standing by the officer; and I said, "Can I be of any assistance? I am a yachtsman, and can handle a boat with an average man." He said, "Why, yes. I will order you to the boat in preference to a sailor."

5533. Pardon me right there. Who was this man then in the boat?
- He was one of the quartermasters. The captain was standing still by him at that time, and I think, although the officer ordered me to the boat, the captain said, "You had better go down below and break a window and get in through a window, into the boat."

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